An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Black Bears Active

Bears are emerging from hibernation a bit earlier than usual this year in Russia, Finland and the U.S. due to warmer temperatures.  The emergence of Black Bears from hibernation in the Northeast usually takes place next month, but they have already been active for several weeks, even in northern New England.

There is little food available to bears in April, but in March the situation is even more dire.  Therefore, bird feeders and human garbage are like bear magnets, so bring in your feeders and make your garbage inaccessible! The climate crisis is having a detrimental effect on wildlife — hibernation, migration and breeding cycles are intimately connected to the availability of food — and as a result of this out-of-sync timing, there will inevitably be more conflict between bears and humans.  (Photo: Black Bear scat filled with sunflower seeds from a bird feeder.  Thanks to Clyde Jenne and Bruce Locke for photo op.)

Naturally Curious is supported by donations. If you choose to contribute, you may go to http://www.naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com  and click on the yellow “donate” button.

11 responses

  1. kathiefive

    Mary, the birds are among my few companions as I shelter in place alone. I have been taking in my feeder at night, putting it back in the morning. How dangerous is that?

    March 20, 2020 at 8:17 am

    • Hi Kathie,
      That’s what I do for a while, but it being so early, and the bears so hungry, it probably makes sense to stop feeding altogether now. 😦

      March 20, 2020 at 8:39 am

    • Melissa Zeiger

      Kathie, I hate for you to have to give up the birds right now when we need all our joys in nature. Kathie, Mary, do you think a bird bath might draw the birds safely?

      March 20, 2020 at 10:34 am

      • I know just what you mean, Melissa. Joys are few and far between. You could compromise by taking your feeders in at night and putting them out during the day. No guarantee, but has worked for me.

        March 20, 2020 at 12:21 pm

  2. Alice

    I wonder if sunflowers will grow there. I think it’s sad that animals are hungry.

    March 20, 2020 at 8:45 am

  3. Linda

    Black bears have been spotted around my town, Milford, NH. Bird feeders have been raided. I’ll take mine down today.

    March 20, 2020 at 10:13 am

  4. nancy sommer

    I scooped up scat just like this out back☹️

    On Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 8:13 AM Naturally Curious with Mary Holland wrote:

    > Mary Holland posted: “Bears are emerging from hibernation a bit earlier > than usual this year in Russia, Finland and the U.S. due to warmer > temperatures. The emergence of Black Bears from hibernation in the > Northeast usually takes place next month, but they have already been a” >

    March 20, 2020 at 10:45 am

  5. Bunny

    If it is warmer than usual why are not the flora also out of sync? I know amt. of daylight has some bearing (no pun meant), but we are seeing algal growth and aquatic plant growth sooner (when ice out is earlier) and more lush lately over here in southwestern Maine.

    March 20, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    • Many plants are, indeed, flowering earlier (see Wednesday’s post). It stands to reason that the sedges, grasses and plants that bears initially seek in the spring should be coming up earlier, but in a year like this even they are in short supply this early.

      March 20, 2020 at 2:45 pm

  6. Madge Baker

    I have had a bear in my yard 2 weeks ago – very early for York County ME. I am also hoping someone can remind me of the answer to a mystery photo of bark being stripped from high small branches. I have seen it and cannot remember what does it. Thanks

    March 20, 2020 at 10:30 pm

    • Hi Madge,
      I think you’re referring to where a gray squirrel had been stripping bark to line its nest with!

      March 21, 2020 at 9:49 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s